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Drama in the Classroom

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Drama in the Classroom - Page Text Content

BC: And the journey continues...


1: By: Jennifer Westveer

2: Learners Theory (Dwyer, 1996) | Week 1 | Position Mapping | Living Venn Diagram | Connection Chains

3: Coming into this drama section of the Arts class I was so nervous and hesitant. Growing up my school experiences of drama were not the greatest which has contributed to my fear of participating and teaching the subject. To begin the class we were exposed to the body/ position mapping strategy where we were asked to position ourselves in relation to a chair in the middle of the classroom which represented drama. During this strategy I positioned myself almost outside the door, as far away from the chair as possible, however I had my arms reaching towards the chair because I was eager to learn about drama and hopefully become more confident in the subject. Through this strategy I was able to see that I was not alone in my feelings and others had similar feelings about drama. I think this is a great way as a teacher to create a sense of community and students can find similarities between each other and empathize with others. I will definitely make use of this strategy in my class not only to build community but also to find out what students know about a subject or how they feel about something. We were then told that we would be learning about a number of drama strategies none of which I was really familiar with, adding to my anxiety. As a way to get to know each other we learned about the strategy called connection chains. In this strategy we had to find commonalities between each other and connect each arm to someone with a commonality. What a great way to get to know a new class of students! This is something I will definitely use in my classroom as well as my next teaching block as an icebreaker activity on my first day! I really enjoyed the living venn diagram that we participated in. This strategy is just as like it sounds. The class floor becomes a venn diagram and the students become the "text" in the venn diagram. During this strategy Kari-Lynn read us statements about drama or theatre and we had to place ourselves in the venn diagram based on what category the placement fell under. Following this strategy some more of my anxieties were lifted because my thoughts on drama proved to not be drama, rather they were theatre. This helped ease my mind with regards to using drama in the classroom. During Week 1, Kari-Lynn used the Learners Theory throughout her lessons. This strategy states that learners remember 10% of what the hear, 20% of what we see, 30% of what they read, 50% of what they write, 70% of what they say/discuss, 80% of what they do an 9% of what they teach. After reflecting on his theory it makes complete sense. Drama is a great way to learn because students are active in their learning and are not simply copying notes from the board. This theory proves that we a educators must engage our students in our learning in order fr th content to "stick." Kari-Lynn also made a number of cross-curricular connections which I never considered until now. Who would have thought that you can incorporate math with drama!! But we did just that in our class by creating shapes with our bodies!

4: Week 2 | Caption Making "What is your character thinking? | Bloom's Taxonomy | News Report "The Derailed Train!"

5: This week our guiding theory was Bloom’s Taxonomy. This theory states that students thinking can be challenged in different ways beginning with a very basic level remember, where students are taught to memorize, retell or recall. The second level is understanding where students are asked to elaborate or explain their thinking. The third is application where students provide examples or demonstrate what they know. The fourth is analyze where students deconstruct and analyze their thinking. Followed by evaluate where students have the opportunity to critique and debate their thinking. And finally the most important category is create. This is where students have the opportunity to construct, design and invent. It is within this category that the most learning occurs. When we reflected on this weeks class it was easy to see that the majority of our learning occurred in the category create. And it was easiest to remember the things we learned about when we had the chance to create. We had the opportunity to create a number of things throughout the class and use our bodies to express ourselves. I believe this reaches a lot of learners and is something that I will keep in mind when teaching my own class. This week we learned about a number of new drama strategies but for this reflection I have chosen to discuss my favourite two. First I really enjoyed the caption making strategy. This strategy is when you use caption bubbles to show what a character is thinking. We read a story in class about 2 different cultures and had to choose a character and write their thoughts in bubble. I think this is a great strategy and something I will use in my classroom because it allows students to gain a different perspective and go inside a characters thoughts. What an interesting way to connect language arts to drama! I also enjoyed the news report strategy. Who doesn’t like coming up with a news report? And who would have thought that through the news report we were in fact learned about Science “Pulleys and Gears!” During this strategy we had to create a news report about a particular type of pulley or gear assigned to us (my group had a fishing pole) without actually using the word given to us! Following the news report the rest of the class had to guess what we were. I can definitely see myself using this strategy in a number of cross-curricular ways. I think this strategy would be useful at the beginning of a unit to see what your students know but also at the end to see what they have learned. It is a nice alternative to a boring presentation at the front of the class (the typical research presentation). After this weeks class I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the subject of drama because I am recognizing that it does not have to be a separate subject it should in fact be linked with another subject area to make it meaningful and fun! I can’t believe how much fun I have been having in this class thus far, my anxiety levels have lowered and I can’t wait to see what next week has in store!

6: WEEK 3 | Corridor of Voices | Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

7: This week I would like to start off my reflection with the guiding theory because I feel that this theory is critical as a teacher and regardless of what subject you are teaching this is something you MUST keep in mind. This theory is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is set up in a pyramid where your basic needs are met at the bottom of the period and your goal is to reach the top. However, if your needs are not met at the bottom of the pyramid it makes it very difficult to reach the top! As I just mentioned at the bottom are your basic needs (i.e. food, water, shelter) followed by safety and security (i.e. in drama class having the right to pass if you are not comfortable which creates a safe environment for students). The next level in the pyramid is love and belonging. This encompasses team building and a sense of community, which builds off of the previous level. In drama I think this is extremely important because at the beginning of the class I definitely didn’t have a sense of safety or belonging but because of the way the class was created and delivered those needs were met and I felt safe in the space and excited to learn about drama strategies. The next level is self-esteem (i.e. authentic praise and showcasing). This is extremely important as a student and this was met throughout this class when Kari-Lynn provided us an opportunity to showcase our work and praised us for a job well done! Finally the highest level in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is self-actualization (i.e. real-life connections and hands-on). Throughout this class we had the opportunity to make connections to our lives and be active in our learning ultimately fulfilling this need. I had an opportunity to experience the drama strategy corridor of voices previously but it didn’t work out quite like it was supposed to so I was excited to have the chance to try it out again! This strategy is when a character moves through the "corridor", which is made up of others who represent his or her thoughts or conscience. As the character passes through the corridor, the voices of those in the corridor express a range of thoughts and feelings. Moving through a corridor of voices can also be useful in exploring the thoughts of a character who is facing a difficult task or decision. In this case, the voices are external and give advice and warnings. Kari-Lynn read us a story about a giraffe who was told he couldn’t dance by other animals and walked through the corridor of voices with a giraffe puppet while we yelled things at the giraffe (both positive and negative) about how the other animals felt about his dancing. I liked how she used a puppet because this removed the feeling that the student was being targeted, the thoughts were directed at the puppet instead. This adds to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Safety as well as Love and Belonging. The group that presented this week used some great strategies and the one that I got to directly participate in was stop motion animation, which I thought was amazing! Our group focused on safety in physical education and we had to create a stop motion animation about safety rules in hockey. What we did in this strategy was take a picture of different scenes and it was put together to create a short animation. This was then presented to the class. I liked how we had the opportunity to choose what was important in the scene and how we wanted to essentially create a tableaux. I will definitely use this strategy in my class if the technology is available because the possibilities are endless! Students can present on any topic and feel a sense of safety and self esteem while doing it! I can’t believe it’s the end of week 3 already! I can honesty say that I feel I have grown so much so far in this class. I no longer want to walk out the door on drama and I am a few steps closer to diving right in!

8: Wow! What a great week in drama!! I really enjoyed this week’s presentation, especially 3 of the strategies they used, which were connection webs, teacher in role and guided visualization. All of their strategies connected to the grade 4 social studies strand of Medieval Times (always a fun and memorable unit) and provided me with some great ideas to use in my classroom. First off the group began with teacher in role where the teacher spends the entire lesson in role of a character (in this case the Jester). This grabbed my attention right from the start and hooked me in to the lesson! I wanted to learn more and participate in the lesson because I could relate to the teacher on a different level. However, this strategy still scares me a bit because I am still not 100% confident in my drama so doing something like this takes a lot of courage and I don’t think I am quite their yet but I am slowly getting there! This group also incorporated the drama strategy called connection webs, which we learned about at the beginning of the course. At the beginning of the course we used this strategy to simply get to know each other as a class, however this group took it one step further and had us make connections between different people in the Medieval Time period. We were each given a person from that period and had to connect with 2 people who were related to our person in some way (i.e. the King is connected to the Knight). This opened my eyes to even more possibilities as a teacher with how to use connection webs. It gets the students up and moving and helps them make those connections in an active and engaging way! It was also beneficial to have the teacher in role during this time because they are able to participate in an extremely effective and engaging manner and keep the students excited and eager to learn more! | WEEK 4 | Teacher in Role

9: This group also presented the drama strategy guided visualization. This strategy is useful when you are trying to get students into a role or the mindset of a character. It works best if students have their eyes closed. The teacher leads them through the visualization by describing scenery, things they see, smell, hear and are experiencing around them. You can also add music in the background to add to the experience. The group took us on a journey through a village in Medieval Times and had us visualize how we were feelings and seeing etc. This would work well with any grade and a number of subjects. I think I would use this strategy in subjects like social studies, language arts, science, and possibly other subject areas as well. My immediate thought was to take my grade 2 students on a guided visualization of the life cycle of a butterfly and what they experience, which can be followed up by a class trip to the Butterfly Conservatory. I had an opportunity to attend a storytelling workshop and I would definitely incorporate what I learned in that workshop to my guided visualizations. After the group presentation Kari-Lynn had us participate in a debate activity where we looked at an environmental issue regarding polar bears. Each group of students was assigned a role that they were arguing from (i.e. environmentalists or tourism company). I had never thought of a debate as being a drama strategy but by putting this little twist on it you are having the students take on the role of someone else while practicing their debate skills and persuasiveness! What a great link to the language arts curriculum regardless of the debate content!! I will definitely use this in my classroom no matter what subject I am teaching as it is easy to see that this strategy connects at least 3 subject areas at one time! | Connection Webs | Debate


11: Well here we are at week 5 already and what a journey it has been. Before I reflect on my journey as a whole I cant forget about the drama strategies we experienced in class today. This week it was my groups turn to present and we chose to present the following strategies: flash forward/moment in the future, thought mapping/positioning, overheard conversations and slow motion. We chose to connect all of these strategies to the Health and Physical Education strand of healthy living. We began our presentation without telling the class what our strategies were and went directly into an overheard conversation between 3 friends. Within this conversation students are able to recognize the bad choices that one friend is making with regards to healthy living and through this overheard conversation we were able to go into though mapping. It was here that we had the class position themselves according to how they feel about the issue (and made sure to tell the class that it is up to their interpretation, i.e. it can be a personal connection or an external connection). This makes the environment safer especially with a sensitive topic such as obesity. Following the thought mapping we had the class brainstorm advice that they could give this friend to help them improve their health, which they then had to present in slow motion. After they did the slow motion we had them flash forward 6 months and use any drama strategy they want to present what this individual would be like then. I can see myself using all of these strategies in my classroom in many cross-curricular ways because they are extremely flexible and engaging. I think students would really enjoy the slow motion because everything looks silly when you do it slowly, but also it is a great way to settle the class without them recognizing that that is what you are doing. It is human instinct to be quieter when you are doing something in slow motion so this would give you an opportunity to gain control of the class. I think this is beneficial to me because I have feared losing control in a drama class and wondered how in the world I would get my students back on track but this is the perfect solution. Overall, I came into this drama class hesitant and unsure however after these short 5 weeks I have gained a greater understanding of drama and can see the amazing benefits of bringing drama into the classroom in a cross-curricular way!

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  • By: Jennifer W.
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  • Title: Drama in the Classroom
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  • Published: over 5 years ago